Jason Daniel Earle’s first en-counter with the adult justice system has resulted in the 18-year-old having to spend Christmas behind bars.
In provincial court in St. John’s Wednesday, Earle was sentenced to a three-month prison term after he pleaded guilty to escaping lawful custody.
“I’m afraid if I go too high (with the sentence), we might lose him in the cracks,” Judge Robert Hyslop said in rendering his decision.
“He might lose hope.”
Earle escaped from the custody of employees of the Provincial Youth Centre in Whitbourne, who were transporting the teen to the Youth Detention Centre on Parade Street where he was to have an arranged visit with his mother on the morning of Oct. 29.
Earle wasn’t in handcuffs or shackles at the time.
He was at large for more than a week before he was apprehended Nov. 8 in the Manuels area during a controlled traffic stop, meaning multiple RNC units stopped a car containing Earle.
Crown prosecutor William Cadigan had recommended a six-month jail term at Her Majesty’s Penitentiary, pointing to Earle’s lengthy youth record. Cadigan said the court should send a message that such crimes are unacceptable.
But duty counsel Jane Fitzpatrick said Earle shouldn’t serve any more than three months, noting he’s had a “complicated, young life.”
Given Earle’s young age and the fact it was his first adult offence, Hyslop said three months was appropriate.
The judge also recommended Earle undergo counselling.
Outside court, Earle’s mother, Tammy told reporters she’s satisfied with the sentence and hopes, with counselling at Her Majesty’s Penitentiary, her son can get his life back on track.